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How I Got Myself Debt-Free - Freebird's Journey

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Debt Free Diaries
64 replies 24.6K views
12357

Replies

  • Alltogether now...."for she's a jolly good fellow(ess) for she's a jolly good fellow(ess) etc"
    Hip Hip Horraay!! You ROCK dude :D
    Was debt free... then went travelling!
  • I disagree with you, Freebird, when you refer to yourself as 'some daft city bird ...'. I think it's fair to say that we're all here because we got into debt for whatever reason and didn't deal with it quickly enough - no blame, no judgement. I also think it's very hard for most of us to get that lightbulb moment until we stop considering what's happening around us and just look at our own situation. It's too easy to get so carried away with champagne lifestyle or overspending on goody bags for kids' parties or whatever is the 'norm' in the circles that we move in then, once in debt, to get too busy firefighting that. What's inspirational in your story is that you looked at everything - quality of life included - and dealt with it all in one fell swoop. It's taken me years to get to that particular lightbulb moment, and I'm still trying to get where I eventually want to be.

    Many congratulations to you.
    Debt at highest: £6,290.72 (14.2.1999)
    Debt free success date: 14.8.2006 :j
  • dinkyloudinkylou Forumite
    727 posts
    Freebird, this is a great story.

    Good to know that it can be done with plenty of determination. It cant have been easy to make some of the choices you did but it sounds like you are leading a happier life for it.

    Good luck and thanks
  • nearlyrichnearlyrich Forumite
    13.7K posts
    Hung up my suit! Mortgage-free Glee! I'm a Volunteer Board Guide
    What a story, I must have missed it when you first posted, well done on getting out of debt but more importantly well done on realising that spending doesn't make you happy.
    Free impartial debt advice from: National Debtline or Stepchange[/CENTER]
  • just as a p.s. This has got to be post of the month .just gotta work out how to vote...........................
    miladdo
  • msmicawber wrote:
    I disagree with you, Freebird, when you refer to yourself as 'some daft city bird ...'. I think it's fair to say that we're all here because we got into debt for whatever reason and didn't deal with it quickly enough - no blame, no judgement. I also think it's very hard for most of us to get that lightbulb moment until we stop considering what's happening around us and just look at our own situation. It's too easy to get so carried away with champagne lifestyle or overspending on goody bags for kids' parties or whatever is the 'norm' in the circles that we move in then, once in debt, to get too busy firefighting that. What's inspirational in your story is that you looked at everything - quality of life included - and dealt with it all in one fell swoop. It's taken me years to get to that particular lightbulb moment, and I'm still trying to get where I eventually want to be.

    Many congratulations to you.
    in total agreement. 'daft city bird'? without your lbm you'd be just as daft as your 'friends'.
    miladdo
  • beanieloubeanielou Forumite
    71.1K posts
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper Photogenic
    ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    I must have missed it first time as well.
    So glad that I caught it this time round.
    Thank you for sharing
    Lou~ Debt free Wanabe No 55 DF 03/03/14.
    **Credit card debt free 30/06/10~**
    **Weight loss 2 stone 2 lbs **
    MFW. 10 months to go. B)
    "A large income is the best recipe for happiness I ever heard of" Jane Austen in Mansfield Park.
    ***Fall down seven times,stand up eight*** ~~Japanese proverb.
    It starts with you, it starts from now. *** It is ok to be me.***
    ***Keep plodding***
    Out of debt, out of danger. ***Be the difference.***
  • Ira_3Ira_3 Forumite
    1 posts
    Well done!
    What you ve achieved is truly inspiring!
    Keep on the good job,

    regards Ira.:T
  • Very very well done and really emotional indeed!! Thanks for sharing this with us!! Your story makes me even more determind to get rid of all my debt!!
    Lotta xx
    freebird65 wrote:
    Further to a few requests, I thought I'd do a write-up on how I got to the point of my debt-free announcement at 8.23am this morning!

    My story started some years ago in the City where I worked. It's very much a culture of conspicuous consumption and it's very easy to get sucked into it. I earnt fantastic money, the social life was an endless whirl and yes, I loved it. You have to look the part too and be seen at all the right "do's". Then there's the breakfast's at Starbucks, lunch at Pret a Manger or some little cafe......oh and while we're out let's just pop into the shops.....oh look at that darling little must-have handbag....drinks tonight at China White & taxi home? (at least £100+)....no problem.....£400 a month in Tescos on food and drinks for entertaining etc....yeah and? Then one day you wake up and realise how fake it all is......the thought of going to yet another do made me feel ill.....what for?? I just wanted to sleep!!

    I had loans totalling £25,000, a £4,000 overdraft facility (maxed!), credit card balances of around £40,000 and a couple of large HP agreements - oh and a wardrobe full of designer clothes and swanky handbags. It was becoming very tight every month to try and control....and I'm good with figures! So I had a good long think and decided the City had to go - I wanted a fresh start away from the temptation - something real. I put my house on the market and handed in my notice. My shocked colleagues thought I was mad and tried to talk me out of it. I downsized to a smaller place, cut my mortgage by £50,000 and used the leftover to pay chunks off my most expensive debt.

    I was left with £6,000 on a loan, a £3,500 overdraft and about £5,000 on credit cards. About this time I discovered MSE - I don't remember how, but I was instantly hooked. I trawled the boards, got excited over deals and freebies and haunted the forums. Reading the debt-free board made me realise that I really had to knuckle down and do some serious surgery....as a shocked friend pointed out when we went shopping "My god, you're still shopping as if you're earning £50K a year".

    Now I'm not going to pretend that any of it came easily - it was bloody tough and at times I thought I had the most awful life ever and that it was never going to get better. I thought the "sacrifices" were just too much to ask and how could I possibly live without all my "essentials"?

    I went through my Tesco shop and cut out things like my fave smoked salmon and £12 bottle of wine. I can hear all the mothers out there screaming with horror at how I lived, but you have to remember that I was a single girl with money to burn, living in an environment where it was "normal". I started making most things from scratch, I looked out for deals, and switched to own brands. The difference meant I suddenly had an extra £300 a month to throw at my debt. Straight at that overdraft! I also switched my overdraft to a low cost one and my credit cards to 0% ones.

    I opened an ebay account and started selling off my designer stuff - I no longer had anywhere to wear them as I also now only went out with my local friends and who cares about Jimmy Choos and Prada in your local pub! The money I raised over the next 9 months or so paid off my loan.

    Next holidays - instead of 5 I had 1 and hunted around on the internet for a flight deal, booked the accommodation myself (B&B not 5 star!) and used the clothes I had instead of buying new. And I went camping......in the UK. My friends thought that was hilarious, but I loved it - in fact, I'm off again next weekend. I never knew there were so many beautiful parts of England!

    Clothes? None....I had so much already and no longer had to keep up with my colleagues. Now I've discovered the likes of Primark which is just heaven! Who cares if those shades were £200 or £2 as long as they do the job? You can look stylish without spending a fortune! I stopped buying all those magazines that make you feel you have to in order to be someone special.....it's what we are inside that make us special, and NOT how much we spend "decorating" ourselves!

    I ditched Sky (have never missed it), sold my car which was a bit easy as I now use OH's (who I was lucky enough to meet 16 months ago), went through all my utility bills to see where I could save. Actually I became a bit obsessed. I've spent hours on the boards checking for useful tips. Every time I go out and want to buy something, I stop and ask myself if I really need the item, or just want it. If it's just want, it goes back on the shelf! Every bit saved became a brilliant victory and just spurred me on even more. It did get to the point were I was "Do we have to go out? That's £10/20 I could save and there's a good film on". I also joined my mates in market research groups - much better paid than mystery shopping and makes me about £500-£700 a year! I joined Greasypalm and religiously check the site before I buy anything online and use every cashback opportunity going - that's made about £300 in the last year.

    I get asked if I miss the City and the lifestyle. Well, do you think a single one of those so-called "friends" has ever been in touch since I left? Asked how I was? Invited me round like I had them so many times? Nope. Would I go back? I think you know the answer.

    As soon as the cards were paid off I ditched all bar two and these I promptly used for stoozing - thank you MSE for teaching me that fab little trick! I also cut them up immediately after so I couldn't accidentally use them and then get killed with interest charges. The stooze pot went into a high interest savings accounts which I didn't touch. When the time came, I paid the money back and was left with the interest.....which at 8.23 this morning, I used to ring the last company and say "I'd like to pay the full balance please".

    And there my little tale ends. It was by no means as bad as some I've read on here and in many ways I've been very lucky. But we all have our own roads to travel and and it's how we get to our destinations that really counts.

    Thank you for listening to my ramble and being there for me and for each other. I'm feeling quite emotional now and think I might cry.

    Be lucky xx

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  • Have just read this having returned from holiday. We worked to our budget and as you said this felt like a real challenge. I had fears that on my return i would let it slip again - am just starting on this 'journey' and the end feels a long way off - so thank you. Thanks for showing how it does come to an end and the reward is there. I feel motivated and challenged again now! when i figure out how to do a 'post of the month' will certainly nominate you :)
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